Pujols, Wilson set early tone in Angels' rout
Slugger hits RBI double in first at-bat; starter goes two scoreless
PHOENIX -- Albert Pujols wasted no time at the plate in his first at-bat of the spring, collecting an RBI double to jump-start the Angels to a 9-1 Cactus League victory over the host A's at Phoenix Municipal Stadium on Monday.
Pujols went 2-for-3 on the day, and fellow newcomer C.J. Wilson pitched two scoreless innings in his debut, while Chris Iannetta provided his new team with a two-run homer. The Angels combined for 11 hits total, while Oakland -- playing in a split-squad game -- managed just six.
Wilson gave up one hit with one walk and no strikeouts, faring much better than opponent Brad Peacock. The A's right-handed starter, making his spring debut, gave up four runs in 1 2/3 innings, allowing four hits with one walk and one strikeout.
Asked about facing Pujols, Peacock called it "pretty cool" and said, "I was trying not to look at him and just focus on throwing the ball over the plate. I left one up and he crushed it."
"It was great," said Pujols. "Probably the third time seeing live pitches, which is good. Spring Training, you want to have good success, you want to feel good about yourself for the season. But I think the most important thing is to try to get yourself prepared for the season. As long as you get your at-bats, and good quality at-bats, and get your ground balls, get your swings, when it's time to turn on the light, it's time to go."
"He comes up there in the first inning, knocks in a run, we're all looking at each other in the dugout laughing like, 'Oh yeah, that's Albert. That's what his job is. He knocks in runs,'" said Wilson. "You just know you can count on him."
Iannetta's third-inning home run came against right-hander Grant Balfour, who has surrendered three long balls in two Cactus League appearances. The Oakland reliever also walked three in just two-thirds of an inning.
The A's lone run of the day came in the fifth, when Jemile Weeks brought home Michael Taylor via a sacrifice fly. Manny Ramirez, making his second start at DH, went 0-for-3 with one strikeout.
Up next for Angels: The new-look Angels will play their Cactus League home opener against the White Sox on Tuesday at 12:05 p.m. PT on MLB.TV. Taking the mound for the Angels will be young right-hander Garrett Richards, who's vying for the fifth spot of the rotation and may have an even better chance now that the favorite, Jerome Williams, is temporarily on the shelf with a hamstring injury. Richards, who will be opposed by lefty John Danks, posted a 5.79 ERA in 14 Major League innings last year, but went 12-2 with a 3.15 ERA in Double-A.
Jane Lee is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.